(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Concert review - The Pink Floyd Experience

4 February 2010 (Lincoln Center, Ft. Collins CO)

No surprise, this Pink Floyd tribute show was a trip -- and I certainly brought along enough baggage. Like many people at this show, I've been a Floyd fan for much of my life. These songs and albums have etched themselves into my brain, where they've formed into an idealized representation of the band. The upside is that I can hear half a second of Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun and effectively listen to the rest of the song within my mind. On the other hand, this is a formula for dissatisfaction when it comes to the Tribute Band Experience(tm). The Pink Floyd Experience didn't do a bad job, they were just measured by a bigger yardstick than they deserved.

As expected, the show favored material from The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon, and Wish You Were Here. There were a smattering of songs outside this, with Let There Be More Light being one of the more surprising ones. All of the songs were pretty close to the originals, but on several, the tempo seemed a bit rushed. They also seemed to like the technique of introducing songs with little snippet references to other songs. This and the faster tempo made it feel like they were trying to cram in as much Floyd as they could, so everyone would leave satisfied. I know the tempo issue bothered me more than it did most of the audience.

Guitarist Tom Quinn did a decent job capturing David Gilmour's guitar style and voice. Similarly, Graham Heath nails Roger Waters' vocal styles. The rest of the band covered the songs well, with drummer John Staten standing out for some great fill work and sax player Jesse Molloy providing some great stage charisma as well as some tasty horn chops.

Musical highpoints included a great version of One of These Days, with some tight bass work and wailing steel guitar. Shine On You Crazy Diamond and Comfortably Numb were also strong. As promised, they even broke out the flying pig during the encore.

Talking to other people during the intermission and after the show, most everyone was satisfied. I agree, it was some good music, but it was more of a staged theatrical presentation, albeit with screaming guitar solos. It's interesting to contrast the Pink Floyd Experience with fellow tribute bands, Lez Zeppelin and Shakedown Street. Both of the latter feel more fluid and live, in part because the musicians have more stage presence and work the crowd. Sure, Pink Floyd always had more theatrical concerts with less jumping around, but it still made this show feel a bit passive.

Be kind and maybe break out the absinthe for the psychological boost.

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